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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  March 28, 2010 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT

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xyz need to be undergirded if you will buy a very practical historical understanding, whether on the left or right you need to know the history of entitlements worth the social security, which grows out of the new deal. if you want to know we had to do about it, whether you like it or not, is the history that undergirds it and it's so important to the public debate. >> to have another project going on right now? >> that's a good question. and several things i like to write about. and love history and my earlier book was on george washington's statesmanship. about to get back to that. there's so much going on right now and a lot of things coming out of this book. come .. >> other people have done it
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and that is the nature of learning history and the story tells you. it is the -- the book is really based on a lot of background and going through all of those things, and, it brings together in the narrative of their own mind, about these principles, so, it's not that there is, say, new discoveries of new hidden documents where and new research
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as much as it is once you know all of those documents, and you study them, and sea how they fit together and why this meant that and how they are all connected, and what it meant, gives a great perspective about seeing what those things mean today in light of current debates and again is this historical ground and deep historical grounding. >> thank you very much for your time. >> thank you. >> history professor jeremy kuzmarov says drug buse i vietnam soldiers are wrong and supporters of the anti-wore movement promoted the i'd and the university of arkansas fayetteville is the host of this event. it is about an hour-and-a-half. >> it is my pleasure to be here, the u.n. office on drugs on crime estimated revenues for the global drug trade to be $320
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billion, per year, greater than the gdp of 80% of... worldwide and similarly the u.s. federal and state prison population reached a new high, in 2007. and with an increase of 15% since '01, 1/2 of federal and 1/4 of state inmates, locked up for drug offenses. clearly, the war on drugs, as rob pointed out, well, first initiated by president nixon more than 35 years ago has been a failure, certainly, stemming the global or domestic drug trade and yet, drug policies changed little if at all since nixon's pronouncement, as i argue in my book the myth of the addicted army, vietnam and the war on drugs, it is the product of domestic hysteria that developed as a result of exaggerated stories about the use of drugs by american soldiers, in vietnam. amidst widening dissent against
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the we're including the troops, which is not as well-known story as it should be nixon exploited public concerns about drugs to his advantage and found the perfect political remedy to deflect public attention away from the horrors of the war in vietnam and popular attention -- opposition to the war. this is the basic pieces of the book, and the issue of drugs in vietnam, first grabbed the public's attention in january of 1968 with the publication of a controversial article in the washingtonian magazine by the son of novelist john stain beak entitled the importance of being stoned in vietnam. [laughter]. >> and steinbeck claimed in this article 75% of soldiers smoked marijuana in vietnam and quote the average soldier seized that for all intent and purpose the entire country is stoned, to force prohibition against smoking the plant in vietnam would be like to prohibit the inhalation of smog in los angeles. these words were evocative and drugs were prevalent in vietnam
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and there was an element of exaggeration. military psychiatrists were -- working close to the situation found between 30 and 35% used marijuana, during their tour, largely on an experimental basis, to escape the harsh realities of war and in some cases, defiance and toward the end of the road, 5 to 10% experiment with smokeable heroin known as skag known vain by the opening of transportation routes following the u.s. invasion of cambodia in 1970. ... arrested on marijuana possession charges and steinbeck overdramatized this... on the outlook, quote if they were speaking in as lauded soldiers over there how could it be there were criminals... and what i wanted to do is paint the ridiculous contradiction and exaggeration with his article had an effect far beyond the original expectation.
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and, gait rise... the myth of the addicted army (audio problems] present in vietnam and contributed to the break down of the military's fighting capabilities, and adopting hyper volatile... epidemics and plagues, proponents of this myth equated all drug use with abuse, and, down played the differences among drugs, marijuana, for example, as being equally powerful, and addictive as heroin, and neg fwleked the social context in which gis got stoned, and, linked to antiwar protests within the military, quite marked and the confinement of drug use mainly to the rear and not the front lines, and proponents of the myth, further blamed drugs for a host of military problems including lack of discipline and sabotage, combat refusals and civilian... that could be more reasonably attributed to the prolongation of war that lost any since of purpose by 1969, 1970.
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by the time it reached its zenith in 1972 with reports of the spread of hair went had had a pronounced public impact. and diverted attention away from the policies... intensifying public fears of the growth of the 1960s drug culture and created an opportune political climate for the expansion of the drug war which the administration capitalized on. in preventing... emerged from an honest accounting of u.s. involvement in vietnam the myth of the addicted army served a similar function to three additional cultural myths. related to the american experience, in vietnam. one of these myths is the prisoner of war myth which the nixon administration used to justify a prolongation of the war and later provided a rationale for condemning the peace settlement that ended it,
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and promise innocent -- of course on the prisoner of war myth there is no evidence, that the north vietnamese government kept u.s. soldiers after... part of the myth, and another myth is the stab in the back myth, which bears resemblance to german... after world war i, and, it blames weak willed politicians, treasonous anti-wore protesters and dissenting journalists... constraining american military power, breeding defeat and... a veteran myth which indicts the antiwar movement for allegedly maltreating u.s. gis upon their return home though hard evidence of such maltreatment is hard to come by and all this myths are promote vigorously we conservatives and neoconservatives eager to
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justify the revival of an aggressive foreign policy after vietnam... the antiwar movement and each took root because of an unwillingness on the part of americans to bear responsibility for their actions, and the country's actions in vietnam. and, because the culture at large could not accept the hands of a quote unfearier -- defeat at the hands of a rage y gediy ass... together these myths preserved the nation's vision of righteousness and the dominant liberal internationalist creed which asserted that america had both the duty an trite export liberal capitalist ideals in a developing world, by force, if necessary, and, the myths helped refocus public hostility moreover on a creases of scapegoats including in effect chul bureaucrats and liberal journalist and the pernicious evil of drug abuse, which
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emerged as a symbol of the war's tragedy whose eradication was deemed necessary to restore america's international credibility and prestige. it was promoted by the mass media because explosive drug stories helped to sell papers, and draw in viewers for television. journalist redford to steinbeck's inflate estimates which they accepted uncritically an pointed to the ravaging effects of combat though such use was rare and it was used in the rear and adopted a narco-phobic discourse en compassion... and orientalist stereotypes depicting drugs is a foreign corrupting agent, reminiscent of the worst anti-drug propaganda campaigns of the past. typical was the january 1971 "newsweek" article, entitled the troubled us army in vietnam, which proclaimed the drug situation to be a nightmare. even some of the medics were on heroin using needles from our own stores, the authors wrote
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amitts lurid photos of... and see punctures running up and down their house and heroin use by needle was rare and it was smoked when taken at all and "the new york times" depicted gis preoccupied with pot parties and not able to carry out military campaigns and jack anderson of the "washington post" wrote inflammatory pieces based on rumor and hearsay claiming soldiers on drugs fired at their own troops and giving away military positions and even selling military secrets such as a timing of bombing raids to prostitutes. actually there is no evidence to indicate these charges are true. again, drugs was used, but, not to the extent pointed out in these articles. and in fact internal military reports studied the issue, and depicted drug abuse aquote more of a minor problem, yelling no discernible impact on morale, health, welfare, efficiency or combat effectiveness and the name problem with the
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military... public relations, how the stories of drug use, like stories of atrocities were giving a bad reputation to the military they were less concerned about the effect of drugs on competitiveness and journalists said it was a weapon of sabotage by communist agents and nbc anchorman walter cronkite proclaimed the communists are battling american troops not only with fire power but with drugs. and, internal military reports, however, would see the distortion, sometimes at play in the media, and the military reports that i have studied at various archives, including the national archives, show that through a consultation with local intelligence, that the national liberation front, which was the southern based resistance movement within vietnam, rarely, this i'm quoting from military documents, rarely hand any drugs, and that, quote the north vietnamese and
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chinese didn't figure prominently in narcotics trafficking due to strong anti-narcotics legislation, and, quote, produced only as much opium as was needed for internal medical needs. the internal reports also conceded to the deep corruption of american allies, including laos, thailand and south vietnam, where the u.s. was supporting the very, very... his comments were the image of a monolithic communist enemy willing to resort to any form of treachery and evil including drug trafficking to ensure global supremacy and cast aside, the factors shaping the strength of revolutionary movements within vietnam including the appeal to national sentiment, and, their dedication to land reform and literacy campaigns which had helped them to win over most of the countryside, as again, internal military reports conceded.
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the media at the same time through the fixation with drugs, and u.s. soldiers, helped to displace the reality of burned villages, napalm children and teaming urban slums bread by the u.s. bombing and passification campaigns which these elements of the war were quietly swept from public attention and the frenzy about drugs. and, in may 1971 "newsweek"'s columnist went so far as to claim, quote, the drug epidemic was worse than the melee massacre where 458 vietnamese civilians were killed in addition to the 55,000 americans who died in vietnam, there are now many more thousands addicted to heroin who might as well be dead. these comments are quite astonishing to me, especially considering the physical devastation to say that the drug use was the worst... considering the physical devastation, wrought by u.s. policies in indo china and including the creation
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of at least 7 million refugees vietnamese refugees, the destruction of large swaths of the countryside through one of the most sustained bombing attacks in history, as well as chemical exfoliation, and killing anywhere from 2 to 5 million, indochinese people. these kind of comment by people like alsop reveal my view of a narrow cultural mind set, too typical of this american establishment, which placed the primacy on the cost of the war, to the u.s. while callously ignoring the far more calamitous effect on the population of vietnam. alsop was not alone in using morbid analogies surrounding drugs reminiscent of the anslinger hey sdaheyday, the he the fbi from 19 -- federal bureau of narcotics, who was instrumental in drum up federal support for the war on drugs through the receiver madness
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campaigns, and, all kind of embellishments about the effects of mayor want. but, these reports, i'm trying to argue the reports in vietnam, that resembled his rhetoric and exaggeration, the readers digest, for example likened an opium den to a nazi death camp, and men were little more than skeletons, and staring blindly into space rising every 30 minutes to buy more drugs and the far eastern economic review editorialized addicted veterans was badly maimed from the wars, and while "the new york times," correspondent james rester wrote the drug crisis was a tragic consequence of the war where khruschev's phrase the living may envy the dead and these comment epitomize the tone of outrage characterizing the media's response to the drug crisis in stark contrast to the violence spread by the war itself, where there was little
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more ex-xhortations and showed vietnam as a war tainted and marred by drugs with devastating social effects, while cementing anti-drug more rays in the u.s. and, many articles warned sensationalistic fashion, so-called drug epidemic in vietnam, was spreading back to the u.s., and, in february of 1971, alsop, and he was a very influential commentator of the period and his brother joseph was on the payroll of the cia and influential journalist and wrote a column in which he warned new york city was infested with drugs and killed by herrin because of the return of soldiers and new york city may be terminal and shows the demonization an rhetoric which i argue fueled support for the war on drugs and, incidentally, none of alsop's writing mentioned the
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deplorable conditions in gone bread by the u.s. bombings and refugee crisis nor explored the underlying structural variables and abandon domment of the great society programs, shaping the breakdown of america's inner cities, and he described the drugs and crazy veterans returning to the streets and were a product of structural and economic problems and cut back in government programs. in june of 1971, "time" returned strung out vets to a frightening rise in the nation's crime rate and the author's editorialized the specter of weapons trained addicted combat veterans joining the deadly struggle for drugs on the streets of america, within a matter of months in our large cities the capone era of the 1920s may look like a sunday school picnic and again, exaggeration. and, contrary to the image in 1973, there was a study by psychiatrists at washington university, leann robins, and she interviewed many veterans who tested positive for haeroin
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in vietnam and less than 10% used any drugs at all back in the u.s. and many did use alcohol, and some did use barbiturates but heroin use was especially low, and those... a number of less than 10% was extraordinarily higher rate which robin contributed to the removal from the pernicious ocesocial environment of vietnam and 1.3% were drug dependent and less than 1% addicted to opiates and drug abuse and crime rates were generally exaggerated in the media creating a climate of fear that allowed for the escalation of the war on drugs. in 1980, the "washington post" telling the editorialized a decade of -- ago, reports of widespread heroin use by u.s. troops in vietnam spawned fears servicemen would come home with drug habits leading to a generation of drug enslavement, crime, and ruined lives. and today is clear those fears were grossly exaggerated.
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generally, you know, vietnam veterans got tarred by the stereotypes and many in fact, achieved very high levels of education, and, income levels, and many also politically awakend from their experience and protesters led to the peace movement which was obscured in all of these sensationalistic portrayals and focused on the drug use and the media created the impression, instead of profiling the role of soldiers of the peace movement, the substantial criticism of u.s. policy, that they der criticized from the experience in vietnam they created the impression america's social fabric was being torn apart at the seams by half crazed and doped up soldiers, for whom nobody was safe. and the result was to raise support for nixon's law and order program. and also tarnishing the image of vietnam veterans, and, their courage and sacrifice and resisting an unjust war was quietly swept from public consciousness, and much like the fate of indochinese crushed by
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the weight of american napalm and artillery. many of the sensationalistic media portrayals drew from a series of subcommittee hearings led by a senator from connecticut and these were designed in the words of roger rothman, a psychiatric social worker who testified at the committee, to, quote, maximize public alarm by broadcasting most extreme dimensions of the crisis. dodd claimed drug abuse was evil pie setting the nation responsible for excessive troop casualties and shocking crimes such as soldiers shooting colonels and going partially insane, and, degenerating to a state where they were totally in effective and blamed marijuana for the me lie massacre, since the soldiers smoked mayrijuana the night before and as a result went crazy and shot up the
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vietnamese village and anslinger claimed marijuana caused insanity and a kid in florida killed his family and claimed it was because he smoked marijuana and there it a parallel, saying marijuana was responsible for the me lie massacre and there were isolated incidences of dereliction of duties caused by drugs, psychiatrist working closely with soldiers found alcohol was linked more acutely to psychiatric break down than drugs and i have a section of the book called the alcoholic army, it was an epidemic as concluded by the military high command and many officers were alcoholics and the psychiatrist concluded that drugs helped soldiers actually cope with stresses and horrors of the conflict. in a personal memoir, the drug haze war in southeast asia, a sergeant, who served with the 4th battalion, 60th artillery from october 1967 to june 1969, commented, for many of us drugs were a form of self-medication
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and day dream under their influence and offered a temporary relief from the cons at that point in time fear and physical suffering. and mark leavey with the first cavalry decision recounted the story of a wounded gi who demanded a toke from a joint, before being medevaced to a hospital and lying with shape nell wounds and blurted out, give me joint and that is medical marijuana in action, he said and you have to realize when we were in the jungle, the tension would build like a coil over several case and come bass was the civil consent of sex and release the emotional drain and the incredible rush of energy and you needed something to come down and drugs provided the perfect tranquilizing effect. a doctor, founder vietnam veterans against the war commented, quote, use of drugs in the combat zone as a particular appeal -- had an appeal because the psychological
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anesthesia provides a ready antidote to environmental stress. soldiers, nearly having come to dying and worrying about the possibility of death in the future and have no compunction in immersing themselves intermediate gratification and in terms of atrocities they were attributed to what a psychiatrist said atrocity us proog environment the war in vietnam, fought by technological power against a revolutionary movement and, vietnam veterans, neither victims nor executioners, he stressed the importance of drug use as a symbol of defiance in the military, an aspect of the war generally forgotten and documented in internal military reports. both the media and senator dodd chose to ignore the underlying roots of drug use in the military, while exaggerating in scope effects and facilitating the breakdown of the armed forces. of which it was a symptom and not a cause. the consequences were profound,
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creating a distorted impression about drug abuse in vietnam, while turning attention away from the suffering of vietnamese population. ironically, given the long term ramifications, the antiwar movement and political left were themselves quite vocal in broadcasting the ravaging effect of drug abuse in vietnam, and in large part because the blame -- they blamed the government for addicting its own troops and this was actually true, as i have logged evidence to broadcast, and, during the mid 60s, the rumors first emerged the central intelligence agency was providing logistical support for drug traffickers in southeast asia, who were allies, proxies of the fight against communism, and, now, political activists and leading democratic people like george mcgovern seized upon the information and there is archival evidence to confirm, deep complicity of the cia and u.s. government agencies. nevertheless, the left, because of this at times employed some
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of this same exaggerations, as the mainstream. in 1971, for instance, left wing ramparts which to its great credit helped expose the role of the cia, but, to give you a sense of the overblown rhetoric in one of their editorials they noted, the u.s. ran a holy war to stamp out communism and protect its asian markets and conscripted sons have come home with a blunt stained noodle as the only lasting souvenir, a fitting trade off, one that characterizes the moral quality of u.s. involvement which has radiated genocide and corruption. and this ugly war keeps coming back to haunt us. each manifestation more terrifying than the last and seeing the international drug trade as a form of economic imperialism, the antiwar left helped to cement the public impression that drugs were lasting legacy of america's disastrous intervention in vietnam. and, menace to the social order. they further contributed to a transformation of the image of
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vietnam veterans, from anticipatiagents of imperialism as many saw themselves to pathological victims of an unpopular war upon whom public fears became transfixed and, robert liveton observed as this particular taint of vietnam, appropriate of tragic public symbolism in the heroin epidemic, the man who encountered evil in war took on the particular taint or sickness in the form of heroin, and the society that sent them becomes terrified of them. and the fear of contagion remains acute as do images of an infected men returning to spread their plague, the government's term throughout the country and addicts, instead of the war itself and the way we're fighting it becomes the locus of evil. the problem finally acknowledged becomes drug addiction and we are told, is what must be overcome. drug addiction, not, you know, the war or what led u.s. into vietnam. richard nixon, enter nixon was
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particularly shrewd, i argue in exploiting the drug crisis in vietnam to his political advantage. he exaggerated the menace of drug abuse in an anslingeresque way and effectively presented himself as a national savior bent on eradicating the drug peril from american life and june 17, 1971, after the release of a congressional report claiming exaggeratingly as it turned out 15% of american gis used heroin, he formally declared the war on drug, called drug, abuse public enemy number one in america and the situation he says approached the dimension of the national emergency, now, the timing of the speech is very opportune for him, four days earlier "the new york times" had begun printing exempts of the pentagon papers, which -- apparently there is -- i haven't seen it but there's an excellent documentary out on daniel else berg and his role in leaking the pentagon papers. the pentagon papers was a
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top-secret blueprint of american governmental war planning leaked by elseberg, and showed a pattern of deception by the government. and, also, the imperial motives that drove the u.s. into the -- into vietnam and it was certainly bad public relations for the u.s. government, popular support for the war, especially as nixon had come into office, claiming peace with honor but was perpetuating the war, now, popular support by this point reached a low eb following below 25%, with the most protracted opposition coming from within the service money -- ranks of the sever men and april 1971, antiwar veterans described by the washington evening post as, quote, hippies with combat infantry badges, and purple hearts, gathered for a special ceremony and denounced u.s. aggression of war crimes in vietnam and hurled their medals at the pentagon, vowing the only way they'd fight again would be, to quote, take these steps. and vietnam veterans against the
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war spokesman john f. kerry excoriated the nixon administration before the senate fon relations committee, and the senator jaye william fulbright, kerry said nixon betrayed the troops and urged for immediate withdrawal so no one else had to die for the biggest nothing in history, and a mistake. on june 18, amidst all the developments, nixon actually received a flurry of positive letters from constituents, praising his commitment for solving the drug crisis. which many considered to be among the gravest social problems of their time and found the perfect political remedy to deflect public attention away from the horrors of voem and popular opposition to it. while pursuing this elusive and illusory goal of peace with honor. and, a semincenterpiece of his argument, was major growth in the the war on drugs as we know it today, a centerpiece was in
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the military, and he established urinals tests in vietnam for all departing gis operation golden flow and -- nice name and a treatment program for soldiers who tested positive, and, actually it is ironic in spite of the lock 'em up and throw away the key rhetoric, tough guy rhetoric nixon was a major benefactor of drug treatment increasing the overall budget from 28 to $300 million. this budget would be cut in later years, in the reagan administration as the drug war bureaucracy focused increasingly on enforcement, but, nixon was actually a proponent of treatment, at the same time, he expanded international interdiction programs on an unprecedented scale with focus in southeast asia, and unrecognized many historians his escalation of war on drugs was central to the vietnamization
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policy and, easing public anxieties about return of addicted have those was to improve the american government in the south vietnamese government to allow for the political sustainability. and the government was marred by scandal, with revelations deeply corrupted, and drug traffic, also implicated in mainly human rights violation, clearly, notorious tiger cages of kon-song and by pressuring them to crack down on drugs, he was trying to improve their public image to allow for sustainability of u.s. tragedy through vietnamization was trying to prop in government as the u.s. gradually scaled down troops anja, he pressured the few government in south vietnam to crack down on the traffic and purge corrupt officials and spent millions training local police an initiating crop substitution and aerial spraying campaigns, and nevertheless, for all the millions, in prelude to later failures, supply rates remained static and corruption
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rampant and june 1972 army criminal investigation report concluded that, quote, enforcement remained futile, as distributions from local, national and south vietnam, was so pervasive efforts to cut off the supply were like trying to, quote, imprison the morning mist. local farmers often resisted u.s. policies by shooting overhead planes, to prevent them from spraying their fields, and fewer brought to testify before a congressional committee, the kennedy hearing on refugees, about how chemical spraying got into their livestock and caused a major health problem and some cases death. and the pattern is now repeated today in latin america, as many of you are aware as well as afghanistan. where u.s. is destroying farmers' livelihood and poisoning their crops while at the same time supporting the drug lords and financing some of the state terror operations, against the taliban, and pashtun resistance forces through the drug traffic as the u.s. financed the secret warren laos,
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through longstribes man, who have been in a secret army and speck references to karzai as the brother of hamid karzai, "the new york times" did a big expose showing how he's the major drug trafficker in afghanistan today. and, now in terms of the drug war in asia, my argument is that that is a precedent for subsequent policies. part of the failure of that policy was because the u.s. continued to support regimes of the historian mccoy termed regimes of total corruption. and the other problem was predicated on a similar fact of shaping the overriding failure of u.s. foreign policy, namely, the inability to win the hearts and minds of the population. the state department and federal enforcement agencies face grave difficulties adapting to local circumstances, and convincing the native population to stop profiting from the drug trade,
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in a depressed war time economy and a yao chief and a cia asset told an american reporter, quote the protestant ethic of american society sees as corrupt others see as fair game and it is hard for my people to understand why they should stop growing opium because, it affects americans thousands of miles away in a strange country and the american ambassador to laos, godly, who provided over one of the -- presided over one of the most intense campaigns in history, scheduled there was no stigma attached to local principles or fetch and kerry and transport a drug through laos and, explaining the difficulty of u.s. drug controlled efforts, recounted an incident which he termed pathetic where municipal officers gave opium to several men arrested on drug charges out of fear they'd develop painful withdrawal symptoms and the
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police chief subsequently told them we have to find opium for them to smoke, otherwise, because the strong craving for the drug they would scream, cry, or raise a coup and this is not a prospect for success if police are giving opium to people they are arresting for drug violations. i think the comments epitomize the barriers and we see continuity across time, barriers plaguing american drug control efforts, and its apparent unnatural setting in southeast asia or central asia today. i think, it serves as a microcosm for the peril of trying to export western ideals in a course or fashion. and in spite of many contradictions, nixon was able to score badly needed political points by his drug policy, and appeared to be proactive in confronting major societal problems. one socially constructed in the press. and nixon's policies would thus become institutionalized,
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practically they were a newer, humanitarian level, a failure booyah but politically were good for nixon, he wknick -- and exp by reagan, who spent over 23 billion on the drug war, helping the u.s. to surpass russia and south africa as the leading prisoner states in the world and today, hundreds of thousands or prisoner and general barry mccaffrey, to remind him of all people, his term, turned america's -- termed america's drug gulag, from over policing in poor inner city communities resulting in discrimination of blacks and other minorities, under the policy. which is well documented, and much sociological literature and meanwhile, u.s. continues to spend billions internationally on spraying and exfoliation
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campaigns which soiled the land and contributed to many human rights violations, by empowering the military and police oppressive regimes worldwide, november '04, a civic advocacy group, the washington office on latin america published a damning report which concluded, quote in one nation after another, u.s. drug control policies are undermining human rights and democracy. by bringing back into domestic law enforcement the region's militaries which have not been held accountable for widespread abuses and authoritarian dictatorships and are causing damage to the most vulnerable people in the hemisphere including farmers ratcheted down into deeper poverty with destruction of their most important crops and the report continues, after 25 years of more than $25 billion we are no closer to winning the war which is about reducing drug abuse, and there has been no significant reduction of illicit drug flows out of the andes or other countries. and after 199 the war on drugs -- 1989 the war on drugs had a
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rationale why the u.s. continued the policy in part, there may be other reasons, cold war pretext could no longer be applied and a good excuse for continuing u.s. intervention. the u.s. charged narco guerrillas, a term invented by the ambassador to columbia in the 1980s, were behind the influx of drugs in american cities. in fact the drug cartels were on the right wing of the political spectrum, and opposed any kind of land reform or wealth redistribution and were at times aligned with u.s. backed regimes and guerrillas generally, in the case of farc in columbia, taxed cocaine in their domain and were not principal drug traffickers at least in the '80s from the evidence i have seen and cartels were on the right wing of the spectrum and paramilitaries worked with militaries to fight the guerrillas who threatened -- policies particularly the emphasis on land reform, was
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seen as a threat to these cartels, who owned, you know, major lands and manages. indirectly the u.s. often indirectly subsidized the drug traffic in this way because of the alliance between the paramilitaries and mailitary, funding military regimes like columbia and are subs diegsz the drug traffic they are fighting and continuing this agenda to have destroying left wing guerrilla groups and as i argue the legacy of vietnam remains influential in shaping u.s. drug war policies, through the '80s and beyond. which is partly due to the influence of films like ""apocalypse now"" and "platoon" and could "the stone killer" and welcome home, soldier boy" and distorted the public memory of the war by casting gis as drug addled victims and psychopaths and 1979 a viewer voted that,
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vote the networks have discovered a marketable villain, no about a grade melodrama was not complete with the standard vet who was a psychotic hire win addict and if i acted according to the what i have seen on tv i should be harboring psychopathic tendencies that prompt me to shoot up heroin with one hand and fashioning explosives with the other as my drug crazed mind flashes back to the rice paddy where i killed my lat. -- lieutenant. by the '80s, americans were saturated with a notion of a country whose survival was threaten by the curse of addiction and impact should not be underestimated. taking hold among a wide public audience, these impressions helped elevate drugs to an issue of central public importance. and bread support for heightened drug control measures and also at the same time contributed to an erasure of the in the caseys of the vietnam -- in the caseys
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of the medium war and as the poet earhart voted, vietnam was something that happened to us, as an america, but in reality it was something we had done to them, the vietnamese and instead of questioning the fundamental tenets of u.s. foreign policy and empire, a majority of americans consequently embraced domestic policy reform as a means of revitalizing the nation, with the war on drugs as a measure to fulfill the end and the scope of america's bombardment campaign and suffering of the southeast asian people, including laos and cambodian people, subjected to vicious aerial attacks was forgotten as the u.s. leaders embarked on a new wave of interventions and sent -- in central america and an embargo on vietnam and rearmed the country for a future war and fought the war on drugs, endlessly. thank you, and i'll be happy to addresser question. this is a basic overview of the
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themes of the book. so, thank you for your attention. [applause] so... yeah? >> during the '7so, we had the -- what people called the flower children, hippies. and you know they began to be called the youth in revolt and also -- and used marijuana for instance and also, in vietnam, they did the same thing, on -- on these two different fronts, maybe what connections did the nixon administration make between the two fronts? >> this is an excellent question, the question is to -- link between this counterculture, right, and -- and nixon tried to make between the counterculture and drug crisis in vietnam is -- and is central to my arguments is a way for him and the conservative movement to attack the counter
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tell you tour and the fact drugs seeped into the armed forces, the most venerable of all institutions, and conservative constitution, rid in with drugs was proof for him and his associates, how the counterculture was destroying america and turning america in his words into a fourth rate power, what he feared. and, kissinger, it may have been kissinger's words and i think they played it up, deliberately because their agenda, i mean, the conservative movement a strong base of its agenda is to erase the '60s and attack the '60s movements and revive america to what it was in the 1950s, and, to revive, you know, one thing the '60s movement did was create a mindset of questioning authority and challenging u.s. -- at least questioning u.s. interventions abroad. and that was part of it. so, yeah, i think very much, nixon, and his associates wanted to go after the counterculture and they played up the addiction
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crisis in the military, to show the pernicious effect of the counterculture, and used that kind of rhetoric, and that fueled this agenda, of which the war on drugs was essentially turning the country back to traditional values, and implementing the war on drugs as a means of counteracting everything the youth movements in the '60s represented. so, excellent question there. >> two hands, you first and then... go ahead. >> you think there is a higher percentage of americans today or lower percentage who recognize the exaggerations of the war on drug? >> a good question. >> [inaudible]. >> the question is, if people today might be more attuned to the prevalence of propaganda and recognizing this exaggerations. yeah. i think so. i think you have a divided country, at the same time you have -- why i think there is
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somewhat of a crisis in the u.s., because there's a divide between the population and the government. and government policies in many areas are unpopular and the '60s movements, one could -- debate what the legacies of the '60s movements were and one legacy that really took root in society was the fundamentally trans -- a the culture of the country, and, also, just, you know, to transform cultural more rays, and the spirit of questioning authority, and, being critical minded, i think is... among many youth and i think it has -- many do recognize the exaggeration, but, still goes on, so, why is that? i mean, one reason -- i mean, enough people perhaps believe it, to, you know, get enough political support, leaders who keep using that kind of rhetoric, to get elected. but, at the same time it shows a growing divide, which is why
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there is -- has led to perhaps cynicism from what i have seen among some youth and i think there is a divide between the population and the government -- policies often values the government don't represent, the values of a good portion of the population. and, i think the drug issue would be one example because i think a lot of people are smart, and can see, you know, know you from personal experience, life experience, or there's vast literature out there, reconstructing a lot of the mythology and my book is many of many with particular focus but there are many other books showing the wholeness of many claims, yeah there is a large critical body, mass in society, but there's a divorce between the policy and the public rhetoric many -- elected officials, which is a big problem i think in american life. but so... there was another
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question. >> president nixon is regarded as a more of a big government status, i guess conservative or politician, and that fact, modern conservatism is rooted around the smaller government and more libber trainer approach. -- libertarian approach and i wanted to make that distinction for the public and what would you say would be the chance that a more libertarian approach be taken, by conservatives to a medical solution to america's drug problems rather than a moralistic solution? >> thanks, the question is, yeah, an em -- emphasizing nixon was more in the favor of big government, compared to subsequent conservative regimes, and then, posing the question, what do i think of the prospects of the conservative movement
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adopting more of a libertarian approach, on the first question, yes, i certainly agree and actually there is a growing body of literature onyx exxon as a liberal in the sense that he did implement certain policies that one might think of as liberal including drug treatment, the emphasis on drug treatment. but, the drug war, yes, shows the big spending tendencies and we see that as -- the current conservatives as well as much as they make claim to be for small government, with policies like the drug war, they continue with traditional and the big split was with reagan and he moved away with treatment an escalated the budget to an outrageous level, nixon was in the millions and reagan and i have to check the figure, i have it down and i was like it it can't be right he spent 23 billion on the drug war? and doubled checked the fact i originally wrote when i copy it
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-- edited the book and it was 23 million and, it was mostly en for the and a big shift took place under reagan and the bush administration, bush one and bush two, continued that pattern of high spending, but, emphasis on enforcement. in terms of drug policy. so, this current state of the conservative movement on the republican party is towards that tendency as much as they claim it represents small government. so, i'm not sure what the prospects are, i mean, it is hard to predict. i think there is a large body of support -- you know, opposition to the drug war. if that will play out in policy, is -- i don't know. i mean, the modern breed of conservative philosophically argues that the government role should be limited except when it comes to the defense and law enforcement. and that seems to be the mainstream or at least republican party today, though i
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know there are splits with libertarianism. i can't predict the future. i think public sentiment is more in favor of a libertarian approach. but whether that will play out in policy, i don't know. i'm not sure. that is a good question. >> before vietnam how was drug use seen and dealt with in the military. >> that is a good question. well, it was -- policing began -- the problem first developed in panama in the early 1900s, and u.s. soldiers were policing the construction of the panama canal, and the army always had programs, world war ii i've done some research on this, there were policing in place. actually what shifted with vietnam was that the army at a certain point. the army had a zero-tolerance approach, if you were found with it you were gone and it was
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really frowned upon and users were harshly dealt with and what happened in vietnam is so many people were using it, more on the casual bases, for policing, they -- it created all kinds of logistical problems. and they didn't want to dismiss hundreds of soldiers and that is when they shifted towards putting in treatment policies. and nixon systemized that approach and put in the golden flow system and raisieagan shif back and that was a down period for the u.s. military and reputation of the military after vietnam was very, very low. and reagan tried to revive, because, you know, once vietnam ended, those programs kind of waned, but, reagan revived pretty harsh laws, in the military, but, much like in society took away the emphasis on treatment. so, again, the policies went back to a kind of zero-tolerance approach and, today, my sense
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is, among -- i'm not an expert but my sense is the laws are pretty harsh, and the availability of treatment is less, much less, than it was in the nixon era though as i go into it then book, what nixon called treatment, many soldiers saw as incarceration and had to stay in vietnam, if they tested positive for heroin and that was the worst thing, because all the soldiers were counting their date of expected return from overseas, their magic number and get out of jail, most of the soldiers really hated, saw the place, hell, and wanted to get out alive, and, for them to have to stay five extra days to go through the army treatment program and then, the program there are many good treatment facilities but some treatment programs are run in a very authoritarian and draconian way and patients don't benefit or come to site as -- see it like incarceration and that was true
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of the army programs of the 1970s and wouldn't qualify it was all success but in some ways it moved more a progressive policy than what took root under reagan and now see a harsh attitude because in part of the historical legacy but that is the basic trajectory. and it was always frowned upon, but alcohol, the irony is alcohol has always been a much bigger problem, so... >> i wanted to thank you and... for the research... [inaudible]. i wanted to ask your opinion and maybe you know from working with, you know, other researchers, but, what is the public awareness on this issue, currently? where does the average person stand with regards to the knowledge and the research that you presented here and i've read your recent articles and you have had -- touched on it linking the war in afghanistan, and karzai's prots, who is --
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could be one of largest drug traffickers in the world today, still getting the go-ahead, you know, from some time of u.s. agency. and where do we stand with regards to public awareness of this? i can only speak for myself, and i was quite shocked by a lot -- i read a few excerpts from the book and your speech and then, even learning about afghanistan, where do we stand in terms of today the average person, with their awareness of these issues? >> that is a very good question. yes, the question is, public awareness. particularly some of the more controversial and hypocritical elements in the drug war and with regards to afghanistan it was exposed in "the new york times," this is now almost nine years into the war but there was in i think november a big article, came out, written by fillkins about the corruption of karzai and he quoted a cia official saying, you know, if
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you are looking for mother teresa in afghanistan you will not find her, and, almost every leading official has some involvement with the drug trade. and that's "the new york times" which is no radical paper. and obviously has a wide audience, a well written, researched piece. so, it is becoming increasingly well-known and this is nine years into that conflict. and there is quite a large body of literature. you know, alfred mccoy wrote the pioneering book in the early '70s and peter dale scott's been researching the cia involvement and i was surprised, myself, before i researched this i saw it as maybe of conspiracy theory but it is only when i went into the national archives and there was evidence in the book and found memos from government officials, for instance the ambassador to laos, would be communicating with the state department, saying, you know, these guys are corrupt up to their ears, but are fighting a
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war for us, so, you know, there is nothing we can do and that is candidly expressed in many memos and now those would only be accessible to researchers. yeah, my sense of the public is not aware of a lot of things. in part because it's not covered in the media and "the new york times" piece may have been an exception and mainstream press giving attention to the issue. so, my since -- sense is there are an informed and well educated people who know about this and the majority don't and that is why people need to support policies when they don't have all the information and, yeah, the pair dock is, it is so blatant, the u.s. is indirectly or maybe directly supporting groups that are major traffickers as we know, afghanistan is 93% of heroin comes out of afghanistan. a major -- and since, the numbers -- since the u.s. invaded, the taliban had
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actually cracked down on them which bears resemblance to the cold war years and the chinese communists for all their flaws, put out a drug policy, that was very strict in part because of the legacy of british colonialism and opium wars and british drug trafficking in china, it was the imperialism they were going to crack down harshly on it and is often the u.s. opponents that actually do -- now the record of the chinese and civil liberties is not good, but, the same is true of the taliban, the u.s. invaded, the numbers went way up. in part because the climate of war is conducive to all kinds of illegal enterprise, to fund counterinsurgency operations, but, yeah, in terms of the public awareness, my sense is a lot of people aren't well enough informed so... >> in your book, you reference how the use of marijuana by
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vietnam soldiers was a self-medicating action, similar to alcohol. but without the hangover the following day, which could endanger fellow soldiers in combat. this was acknowledged by military psychiatrists and seems to continue to support the belief that marijuana is indeed safer than alcohol. could you elaborate and tell us your thoughts on newly released studies that encourage marijuana use as a treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. >> the question is, two-fold and reference in the book to soldiers who stated they preferred marijuana to alcohol because it didn't have a hangover effect and, the effects of medical mayor warijuana and t an expert on the pharmacological effects of marijuana and i can't answer the question in terms of marijuana and ptsd but studying the experience of vietnam veterans, well,


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